Here is a recipe for cannoli shells and the traditional ricotta filling. You can also buy cannoli shells or use puff pastry and bake instead of deep frying. Cannoli tubes can be found at kitchen stores or on-line for about $10 for four.
(Makes about 1
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 TB. shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
2 TB. white vinegar
2 TB. cold water
1 egg white, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut shortening in with a pastry blender until the pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in eggs. Blend in the vinegar and cold water. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Add additional flour, if needed, to get a smooth dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Set out 6 aluminum cannoli tubes. Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 360 degrees F. Cut an oval shaped pattern from cardboard about 6x4-inches. Roll chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Place the cardboard pattern on dough and cut out as many as will fit on the dough. Wrap dough loosely around tubes slightly overlapping opposite ends. Seal ends by brushing with egg white and pressing together. Fry only as many shells as will float uncrowded in the hot oil. Fry until light golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove cannoli shells to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly and remove the tubes. Cool shells completely. Using a pastry bag or a small spoon, fill the shells with the filling from both ends. Do not fill the shells until up to an hour before serving, as the filling will make the shells soggy. Sprinkle ends with reserved chopped pistachio nuts and dust with confectioners sugar.
Traditional Ricotta Filling
4-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
1 TB. vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips *
1/2 cup pistachio nuts,coarsely chopped
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Combine ricotta, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Stir in chocolate chips or candied fruit. Reserve pistachios and confectioners sugar for garnish. You can use 1/2 cup of finely chopped semisweet chocolate. Chopped candied orange peel or citron can be substituted for the chocolate chips or you can use 1/4 cup of each.
Pizelle cookies require a pizelle iron (kind of like a waffle iron with a very delicate, intricate pattern). If you want more information on that, let me know.